A Vietnam War veteran with only days to live has been granted his final wish — to see his dog again.
“I’ve been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer as of Thanksgiving of last year,” John Simpson tells MyFOXTampaBay.com of his terminal condition. Doctors gave Simpson only four to six months to live.
To lift the dying man’s spirits, a friend thought it might be a nice gesture to bring Mr. Cutie by the hospice for a visit. But the following morning, the tiny Chi was nowhere to be found, and the only sign of where he might’ve gone was a small patch of dirt leading to a hole under the backyard fence. Mr. Cutie had run away.
“John’s been here for weeks. That dog’s never tried to dig a hole,” caretaker and friend Ann Marie Gemmel explained last week after Mr. Cutie’s disappearance. “Saturday was the first time I took the dog here to hospice. That next day he got out.”
“I really think he was looking for John,” she added of Mr. Cutie.
When Simpson learned his best friend was missing, he was devastated.
“When you’re growing up you’re asked, ‘If you could have one wish, what would you wish for?” a tearful Simpson told the media last week. “Back in those days, I used to say, ‘As many wishes as I could wish for.’ Now, my only wish would be for my dog to come home.”
Good Samaritan Missy Figueroa never imagined that she would grant someone’s last request. Figueroa tells The Examiner Mr. Cutie was found running loose close to the hospice when Figueroa picked him up and brought him home. She noticed the Chihuahua was wearing a red collar and figured his owner must be out there somewhere looking for the little guy. Figueroa posted a photo of Mr. Cutie on lost and found dog database FidoFinder.com, hoping the Chi’s owner would come forward soon.
A long, hard week went by with Mr. Cutie’s whereabouts unknown, and Simpson’s health continued to decline. Friends continued to scour the area for the missing Chihuahua, posting photos, using social media and even contacting the press to enlist the public’s help in the search. That’s when someone stumbled upon Missy Figueroa’s FidoFinder.com posting. Mr. Cutie was coming back home.
Figueroa says she was overwhelmed with emotion when she brought Mr. Cutie to the hospice to reunite the little dog with his relieved owner.
“Seeing this person I don’t even know so excited to see his dog, it just makes me happy that I got to be here for that and make him happy,” Figueroa says.
In the meantime, John Simpson is just glad to have the chance to spend his final days with the dog he poignantly calls his “spark of life.”